Last week, Kris and I returned to a restaurant that we hadn’t eaten at since our first year in Korea: Brooklyn Burger Joint. Located in the French district of Seoul, Seorae, it was too far removed from any other attractions for us to visit in our time in Wonju. However, now that we call Seoul our home, it is far less of an expedition. We found ourselves in the area to collect a television, so we decided to see if Brooklyn’s burgers were still the finest in the country.
Unbeknownst to us, Brookly Burger Joint had actually changed locations in the time since our last visit. Even though the new location is situated a couple of hundred metres from the old one, we initially thought that the location online was incorrect. Then we saw the glowing neon sign heralding that we had in fact reached our destination.
Upon entering, we were struck by how much bigger the new location is compared to the old one. The counter area was massive, and there were over a dozen tables leisurely spaced out over the interior, American pop-culture references carefully spaced out on the walls. The old location had the air of a frenzied haven for burger fanatics, with the few tables there were squeezed in as tight as possible, with the energy and heat from the kitchen flowing through to the diners and references covering every possible surface. The new location has a feel much closer to that of an average, generic downtown burger joint. Edgy alternative music gently played in the background of the cozy atmosphere, occasionally punctuated by a chime from the pinball machine sitting in the corner. The old location felt like a hardcore burger lover’s oasis in the sea of average fare, and the new location feels more like the neighbourhood restaurant you are happy going to three times a week to get your burger fix. It’s more comfortable, but has lost a lot of that zest and identity that the old location had.
After settling into our snug, cushioned chairs, we placed our shake and burger orders and eagerly awaited their arrival. We did not have to wait too long before the shakes arrived. Kris ordered an Oreo mint flavoured one, whilst I was intrigued by the cherry chocolate. They arrived, tall glasses filled with delectable, sweet goodness. The milkshakes exceeded our expectations. However, we knew that the true test would be the burgers themselves. Kris awaited her Brooklyn Works, and I was eager to test the Napkin, Please (a burger topped with American chili and mince).
The burgers were placed on our table as we were finishing our milkshakes, and they looked delectable. Looks were not deceiving. My burger was incredibly well-made. The bun was clearly fresh, and the burger melted in the mouth. Whilst the Napkin Please may not have been the best choice, it was still a wonderful taste experience. Kris devoured her burger feverishly, always a good sign. Afterwards, she confirmed that it was just as good as last time, a sentiment I shared.
Overall, we were glad to find that Brooklyn Burger still serves the best burger we have eaten in Korea. The prices are too high to make it a regular outing for us, but it was a welcome treat. We were disappointed that the atmosphere and decor had become more bland and indistinct, but the food and milkshakes have lost none of their lustre. We will certainly be returning for another glimpse into how good a burger can truly be.